Master Craftsman Marries Designer Wannabe

The trend of the day has many names such as repurposing, hacking, upcycling, reclaimed, etc., where one takes something old, outdated, or otherwise ugly and turns it into something unique and beautiful.  I love it! And, I am very fortunate to be married to a very talented and creative carpenter.

When we first moved into our new place as newly weds, we decided we needed a bookshelf for our upstairs loft area.  The cost of a new one was not in our budget that month so we scoured Craig’s list for used ones.  We found a pair of solid wood shelves for fifty dollars but it looked pretty beat up.  Stan said he could do a little bit of this and a little bit of that to it so we decided to buy it. It was our first project together and it was a lot of fun.

He added more shelves, replaced the tops and added molding and trim all around.  After giving it a good sanding, we painted it an antique black using his commercial paint sprayer.  (The perks of being a professional). The transformation was stunning, but unfortunately I did not take a “before” picture!  Needless to say, we took a fifty dollar pair of ugly old bookshelves and with the cost of half a can of paint, some wood trim and an afternoon, we created a very substantial piece of furniture that someone would easily pay hundreds of dollars for.  He hates that I bragged about him for weeks!

first project  bookshelves1 bookshelves2bookshelves4

Roll the clock forward to a week ago when I found another old worn out bookshelf on a Facebook page and nabbed it.  We didn’t have a particular need for it but the price was too good to pass up.  We love anything vintage, industrial, or shabby so we decided to create a piece using a little bit of everything to turn the shelf into a unique cabinet.


Up close there were a lot of scratches but every piece is solid wood.

To create an industrial/vintage look, Stan built a pair of doors with stretched steel inserts. We gave the metal an aged look by spraying it with salty water so it would have the right amount of rust.


Molding is on and two coats of paint

Next, Stan added some dentil molding at the top, and some trim on the fronts of the shelves and the sides to give it a more substantial look.  He also added a back panel. Finally, he gave it a couple coats of black paint and then when it dried, used sand paper and a chisel to distress it. We had to add some matching wood stain to the new wood he used after being exposed from the distressing process.


cabinethackdoors With a few coats of wax, new door handles, and a light kit, we created a stunning piece that is completely unrecognizable from the original.  Now we just have to decide whether to keep it or sell it.  It’s hard to give it up but we are running out of room for more furniture!





We had such a great time working on this project and are excited to start our next one.  Now I have to figure out how to turn this into a Jobby!